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Wild Bunch suits Central City to a ‘T’

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Council Meeting Business

By David Josselyn

If you have been living under a rock, the Central City Council met with the Business Improvement District (BID) Board on March 15, 2018. One of the topics of discussion was the performances with gunfights of the Wild Bunch Gang during BID events that include alcohol. Additionally, some board members expressed their desire to not have the Wild Bunch perform at all during the summer if they insisted on using guns. Later, the BID Executive Director, Joe Behm, informed the Register Call that, “I do not feel gunfights should be banned,” and restated that the primary concern is the gunfights during alcohol related events causing panic among uninformed guests. The City Council held a work session on April 3, 2018, to discuss the matter further; the council chambers were packed with people, including former members of the Wild Bunch, wanting to let the Council know their opinions on the matter and show support for the Wild Bunch. The opposing views were overshadowed by the overwhelming support to keep the Wild Bunch. In response, the City Council scheduled a meeting with the leaders of the Wild Bunch, along with two Council Members, Jeff Aiken and Mary Bell, and two members of Staff to consider options to the current arrangement. At the work session tonight, April 17, 2018, Manager Miera revealed the result of that meeting. The consensus was that the Wild Bunch Gang would move their performances from the center of Main Street to the apex of the “Big-T Lot” (the parking lot south of Main Street across bordered by Nevada and Spring Streets) which would lessen the noise of gunshots on Main Street. Sometime between the meeting with the Wild Bunch and tonight, the City Staff came up with an idea to use an area on Spring Street directly across from the apex of the Big-T Lot, to house a wild-west backdrop the Wild Bunch Gang could use in their performances. Outlaw leader Mike Keeler had mentioned this idea in their prior meeting. The backdrop could require funding from the City. Alderwoman Laratta mentioned that the spot on the Big-T parking lot was a possible location for the historic steam shovel that Central City is obtaining from Nederland Historical Association. Council consensus was to move forward with the plan to move the Wild Bunch Gang to the Big-T and then to look at the Spring Street idea in greater detail including costs and permit issues. The Wild Bunch Gang will not be performing during the popular alcohol-related events Stills in the Hills or the Great Central City Beer Fest.

The Council met for a “retreat” on March 15, 2018 (the same joint work session with BID in which the Wild Bunch Gang was first discussed) to discuss City specific items including the 2018 Election, Main Street traffic, ATV licensing, local tax issues, vacant building deterioration, and non-profit funding.

Regarding the 2018 general election; the City considered having a coordinated election with the County, but the cost was about three to four times what it would be to hold their own. Therefore, the City will have a separate election in November; City residents will expect to receive a ballot from the City separate from the main ballot.

Alderwoman Laratta shared her opinion that any building restoration should include the Central City Opera buildings; she has been watching those buildings deteriorate over the years and remarked, “It is the face of the Opera and they look like crap.”

Mayor Heider reported that the Central City Opera Board (Mayor Heider sits on the board) has a new chairman of the board, along with several new members, and their focus is changing and among several things is the properties owned by the Opera Association and how to rehabilitate them.

Manager Miera reported that they (the Opera) have a set date for the annual Central City Opera picnic which will be Monday, June 25th, on Main Street. The exact time is yet to be determined.

Regular Council Meeting

The Central City Regular Council Meeting of Tuesday, April 17, convened at 7:00 pm in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Mary Bell, Judy Laratta, Shirley Voorhies, and Mayor Kathy Heider were present. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, Finance Director Abigail Robbins, City Manager Daniel Miera, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Utilities Director Jason Nelson, Fire Chief Gary Allen, and County Sheriff Captain Tom Ihme.

Mayor Heider led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. There were no additions or amendments to the agenda.

Mayor Heider asked if anyone on Council had a conflict of interest or thought another member of Council had a conflict of interest with any item on the agenda. No member responded.

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the April 3 meeting and regular bill lists through April 11. Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderwoman Voorhies. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Heider opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the night’s agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at this time.

HPC Appointment

The Historic Preservation Commission had an opening for an alternate board member and two people applied for consideration; Timothy Casey and Ernie Van Deuchen (locals know him as “Dutch”). Both applicants were present at the meeting. Dutch is a current member of the Planning Commission, but has expressed interest in moving to the Historic Preservation Commission. Mayor Heider suggested that Dutch, being on a Commission already, be appointed to the open Historic Preservation Commission and the other applicant, Timothy Casey, be considered for the Planning Commission. The Mayor asked is this would be agreeable to the applicants and they both stated it would.

Alderwoman Voorhies moved to approve the appointment of Ernie Van Deuchen as alternate to the Historic Preservation Commission and that the vacancy created on the Planning Commission be posted and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The motion carried unanimously.

Parkway Preservation

Director Hoover introduced Resolution 18-09 which would award a bid for the Central City Chip Seal Project to A-1 Chipseal Company and authorize the City Manager to execute a contract. The project would chip seal and fog coat “Phases 3 and 4,” of the Central City Parkway and include striping. The phases refer to sections of the Parkway in the order of original completion. More accurately, the project encompasses Nevada Street from the bubble (the convergence of Nevada, Spring, and Main Streets), up the Parkway to just beyond mile marker six. The chip seal process would lay down new granite pieces and then “seal” them followed by a fog coat that not only protects the surface from oxidation and moisture, but also gives it the dark black color which makes the striping “pop.” The total cost to the City would be $247,000 (rounded up). Work is to be completed in June 2018. Director Hoover stated that if the funding continues, they will be able to chip seal two miles of the Parkway every year; completing the entire roadway in four years.

Alderwoman Voorhies moved to approve Resolution 18-09 and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The Resolution passed unanimously.

Staff Reports

Alderman Aiken requested an update on the Belvidere Theatre. Manager Miera replied that there will be a Staff meeting this Wednesday (April 18) regarding the grant applications for design. The City is considering holding an event (June 24) bringing attention to the building and renovation which could attract funding and support. The event would also educate people about how much has happened toward restoration and what the next steps are; addressing a large number of questions that come into City Hall.

Council Comments

Alderwoman Voorhies stated, “Thank you Sam (Hoover) for looking at the sinkhole in the Post Office parking lot.” She then asked Director Nelson, “How’s the reservoir look?” Director Nelson replied “The South Platte Basin has about 85 percent capacity; it could be worse, the Rio Grande Basin, which doesn’t affect us at all, is about 35 percent. There is snow up there (above Central City). Spring runoff has started early, but everything is looking okay with levels and quality.”

Public Forum

Mayor Heider opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda.

Barbara Thielemann, representing Main Street Central City, presented a year in review report from DOLA and pointed out they used Central City’s new masthead for their report. She gave several statistics about new businesses and renovations around the state and pointed out how Central City has contributed. A new real estate business opened up and the fire station exterior had a face lift. She stressed that people not just on Main Street are applying for grants and restoring and preserving properties in this City.

David Josselyn, President of Gilpin County Arts Association, next addressed Council. Josselyn reported that Gilpin Arts is hosting a house warming party at Washington Hall on Saturday, April 21, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and invited Council and Staff to attend. He said house warming parties often expect gifts, and the gifts they can bring are ideas on how to best utilize Washington Hall for the City and the arts now that it can be open year-round with the newly added heat.

Mark your calendars

The Council moved to enter Executive Session at 7:31 pm to discuss the potential sale of personal property owned by the City. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

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